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Experts warn of malaria risk from credit crunch holidays

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Campaigners are warning that UK holiday-makers hunting for bargain trips during the credit crunch are running the risk of contracting malaria as they switch from traditional hotspots to malarial countries.

Since the credit crunch and the pound collapsing against the euro, more and more British tourists are visiting countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Thailand and Malaysia.

Now holidaymakers are being warned by the Malaria Awareness Campaign to be aware of the dangers and to make sure they speak to their practice nurse or GP before travelling abroad.

Dr George Kassianos, a member of the UK Malaria Guidelines Committee, said that people booking at the 11th hour were particularly at risk. "We know from studies that people who book their holiday at the last minute are much less likely to seek travel health advice before they go," he said.

"Deaths can occur within 24 hours of the first symptoms of the most dangerous strain of malaria, so all travellers need to recognise the importance of speaking to their GP, practice nurse or travel clinic before going abroad."

In 2007 there were 1,548 cases of malaria reported among UK travellers, according to figures from the Health Protection Agency. Five of these cases were fatal.

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